If you are visiting Boston or looking for a new place to dine, I would like to steer you towards The Melting Pot, a fun, family oriented restaurant that serves all kinds of fondue. Just as America is labeled the “melting pot nation” for its mixture of different cultures, this restaurant gets its name from the diverse mixtures of ingredients found in an extensive choice of fondues. The Melting Pot offers up soothing ambiance, plush seating and an energetic wait staff that knows countless facts about cheeses from all over the world. Their menu allows the customer to choose different fondues that incorporate spices and cheeses from various foreign cultures. The options can sometimes be overwhelming but do not fret, because any one of the staff members will be able to assist you in making the best decision for your party. Characteristic ingredients like garlic, white wine, lemon, nutmeg, peppers, spinach, and beer add to the flavor of each unique fondue and every combination is fantastic. The Melting Pot’s most popular fondue dish is their Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue, which blends foreign cheeses with common vegetables. Each fondue bowl smells different from the next as they pass under your nose but their flavors vary even more drastically. Only the adventurous eaters will truly be able to appreciate this restaurant because every fondue is different, yet each is exploding with new flavors that must be tasted.
One of the best parts of my dinner at The Melting Pot did not actually involve any eating at all. Watching my waitress make the fondues in front of our table was like watching a lyrical dance. Her arms moved up and down as she poured the ingredients into the cauldron and her hands moved swiftly to and from the cart selecting the proper ingredients and sprinkling them into the mixture. With each new ingredient, our waitress described its use in the recipe and how it adds to the flavor of the fondue. Sometimes she would delve into the history of where a particular fondue originated from and afterwards you could see the link that the fondue had to its birthplace. The wait staff was so knowledgeable about the menu that I left having learned something new about foreign cultures and foreign food. For example, I always thought that fondue was French because the word “fondue” originates from the French word “fondre,” which means “to melt.” However, the Swiss had a large impact on fondue as well. Fondue as a meal fell out of fashion in Europe in the middle 20th century, except in Switzerland. This country kept the art of fondue alive and now it is booming once more. Thanks to the Swiss, this gastronomic art is now enjoyed all around the world.
Fondue is an interactive meal. People are constantly reaching over one another to pluck their tasty morsels from their cheese cauldrons. I must have heard, “Oops, Excuse me. Sorry. Pardon my reach,” at least one hundred times during our meal. By the end, no one cared if an arm suddenly passed across their plate or if an elbow came closer to their nose than expected because we were all struggling in the same way to get our cheesy bits onto our plates without causing any problems. However, fondue is and unavoidably messy meal—at least the group of people I went with made it seem that way. There were little drops of yellow, off-white, and orange spreading across the middle of the table from where the cheeses dripped along its hasty journey back to someone’s plate. The Melting Pot must go through a lot of paper table covers in one night of service. Thankfully, the friendly atmosphere of The Melting Pot creates a casual meal setting for its customers to enjoy their messy, delicious fondues. Because it is so interactive and fun, the table conversations hardly ever stop.
I highly recommend The Melting Pot for a birthday dinner or any celebration because it makes a meal more like a culinary adventure. The Melting Pot is perfect for all ages and to me, it seemed that everyone around me had a love for food and friends. It is a uniquely social restaurant with friendly service, and plenty to offer any group of people. Make sure to visit this tasty, innovative restaurant if you are ever in Boston and craving some cheese.
The Melting Pot 76 Arlington St. Back Bay, Boston MA 02116 (617) 357- 7007 http://www.meltingpot.com/boston-back-bay/specials
Mon-Thurs: 5pm-10pm Fri: 5pm-11pm Sat: 4pm-11pm Sun: 4pm-9pm
 Peter Hertzmann, fondue. http://www.hertzmann.com/articles/2006/fondue/